North Korea

Briefs, December 19, 2012

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 19 December, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 19 December, 2012, 4:12am


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Malaysia gives refuge to Rohingya survivors

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia's maritime agency has come to the rescue of 40 Myanmar shipwreck survivors, thought to be Muslim Rohingya fleeing ethnic violence. It said the survivors of a wreck off the Myanmar coast on December 4, in which 160 others were reportedly drowned, were in good health and being taken to Johor state. They were taken from the Vietnam-flagged cargo ship Nosco Victory after it had been turned away by Singapore because of a lack of information about its passengers. The 40 were believed to have been in the water for 30 hours before they were rescued. They were survivors from a Bangladesh-flagged ship that sank on its way to Malaysia. AFP


Indonesian boy, four, dies from bird flu

JAKARTA - An Indonesian boy, four, has died from bird flu, bringing the death toll to 160 in the world's hardest-hit country. The boy died on December 6 in Tangerang, just west of Jakarta, the capital. He developed symptoms of a cold and fever on November 30 and was treated at a public health centre before being taken to hospital on the day he died. AP


Appeal issued to find Laos social activist

BANGKOK - A respected social activist in Laos is missing, and friends and colleagues have issued an urgent appeal to find him. A statement on behalf of 61 Thai NGOs said Sombath Somphone disappeared on Saturday afternoon in the Laos capital, Vientiane. Friends last saw the 60-year-old getting into his car to drive home from the development agency he founded. AP


Remains of 'molten man' unearthed

TOKYO - The remains of a high-caste man wearing armour who was buried by hot ash - possibly as he tried to calm the wrath of an erupting volcano - have been found in an area known as the "Pompeii of Japan". Archaeologists say they have unearthed the well-preserved body of a sixth-century man who had apparently turned to face a flow of molten rock as it gushed through his settlement. "Maybe, if he were someone of a high position, he might have been praying, or doing something in the direction of the volcano and attempting to appease its anger," said Shinichiro Ohki, of Gunma Archaeological Research Foundation. AFP


North Korean satellite deemed dead

WASHINGTON - A satellite launched with fanfare last week by a defiant North Korea appears to be dead, as no signal can be detected. The US and its Asian allies have acknowledged that North Korea succeeded in putting an object into orbit that the communist state said was observing the earth and airing patriotic songs. Jonathan McDowell, of the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics, said the satellite was clearly in orbit but no songs could be heard. "To the best of our knowledge, the satellite isn't operating," he said. "It's definitely up there and it's whizzing around, but it's just not feeling very well." AFP